Clarion Wrap-up

Final word count:

Week 1 (exercises on setting, character, and plot) : 2,000 words
Week 2 story: 1,900 words
Week 3 story: 2,700 words
Week 4 story: 5,000 words
Week 5 story: 3,500 words
Week 6 story: 5,700 words

Total: 20,800 words

I was far from being the most prolific writer of our group, but over 20k words in six weeks is not too shabby :)

Having been through the workshop, what advice can I give to future students?

* Bring ideas with you to the workshop, but don’t feel obligated to use them. I came in with 6 story ideas, thinking that if worst came to worst I could fall back on them and not think of anything new during the workshop. I used some of the ideas for writing exercises in week 1, but all five stories I wrote at the workshop were conceived at the workshop.

* Learn about who you are as a writer, and what works for you. I learned a lot about my writing process–including that my brain needs to take a couple days off in between stories. I also learned that I can go from idea to finished draft in 3 days, in a pinch.

* Pace yourself and write a little every day, if you can. I couldn’t (see previous comment), which meant I spent every weekend frantically trying to pound out a few thousand words to make my deadline.

* Don’t measure yourself against your classmates. Everyone at the workshop has different strengths, learn from each other and don’t make it into a competition.

* Writing-wise, try to work on one or two things each week (more than that is overwhelming). For instance, I had a week where I worked on using more dialogue and making the story ‘gritty,’ and a different week where I worked on developing an interesting voice.


  1. Not too shabby at all. :)

    I brought story ideas/images, fully expecting not to use them. But actually I used them as jumping-off points for every single story and exercise except for the dolphin story, and even that incorporated an idea from the idea file. But I was okay with it, since I usually tend to flit wildly from shiny new idea to shinier new idea.

    Also, my story ‘ideas’ usually consist of a couple lines of dialogue, or at most a random scene, with no concept of what story goes before, after, or around it. Then by the time I’m done, that image is maybe no longer in the story (or shouldn’t be. Kill your darlings, kill, kill!)

Comments are closed